Court of Appeals Rules Gross Negligence Standard Applies to All Emergency Care Provided in Obstetrical Unit

In OB/GYN Associates v. Brown, A20A1447 (Ga. App. October 23, 2020), the Court of Appeals held that the gross negligence standard set forth in O.C.G.A. § 51-1-29.5(c) applies to all emergency medical care provided in an obstetrical unit. The Court analyzed the plain language of the statute stating that gross negligence applies to "the provision of emergency medical care in a hospital emergency department or obstetrical unit or in a surgical suite immediately following the evaluation of treatment of a patient in a hospital emergency department". The court noted that the limiting phrase immediately following the evaluation of treatment of a patient in a hospital emergency department only applied to care in a surgical suite. There is no limitation on the provision of care in the obstetrical unit.

This decision is very helpful. Prior to this time, courts had interpreted the gross negligence standard as only applying in the obstetrical unit immediately following evaluation in an emergency department.

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